HOW WE GOT HERE
R3 Development launched in 2015 out of Rebirth East St. Louis. Rebirth began as a nonprofit ministry in 2008 with the mission of mentoring and discipling youth in East St. Louis. In 2014 the leadership developed a focus on housing corporation. While Rebirth had goals to continue discipling youth, it hoped to do much more through leaders located and living in East St. Louis, church planting, community center and community development. Rebirth desired to inspire holistic change in the City of East St. Louis.
As the organization repositioned as R3, we created three core objectives: 1) Disciple youth through employment 2) Be reputable landlords for the community and 3) Generate revenue to complement philanthropic giving. Those objectives were all equal in our eyes at the time. Meanwhile, a local church was planted through the invitation extended to City of Joy Church to “come and plant.” Through this, the desire to do community development and what we call incarnational living (leaders living and serving in the city) grew and took shape, at the time becoming an independent 501c3 non-profit organization.
In November 2016, after organizational transition, we had just two members of the Board of Directors, two student relationships, eighteen volunteers and few professional partnerships with whom to build a new program. Fifteen very short months later - we have grown to include 6 Board members, are mobilizing 300+ volunteers and have authentic relationships with 40+ students from the East St Louis’ SIUE Charter School. These student have each completed at least one internship with R3, and many of whom regularly attend City of Joy Church’s Next Up weekly youth event. Our relationship with the SIUE Charter School is one we greatly value, and we hope to grow our programming to serve the entire student population. Along with generous giving from partners, two board members also assisted us in creating a for-profit house-flipping business to provide non-traditional operating revenue for our ministry. The Lord is providing and growing partnerships with the entire Body of Christ, not just two churches. We were once hanging on by a thread, and now clarify our next steps for growing from the start-up phase into the growth phase. We see God’s fingerprints all over the ways in which our team has been growing and doing the work of R3.
The greatest testimony to the impact of R3 is the endorsement of our students. Many report that R3 has made a profound impact on their lives. They’ve learned the story of God as well as to come to understand and share their own stories of faith. Students trust R3 and come to us for wisdom and advice. Likewise, many volunteers have come to know and love the impact we are having in East St. Louis. Their negative view of the city is beginning to change as they hear real stories and meet real people in a community they’ve only previously known through the statistics of violence and poverty depicted by the media.
Who Leads R3?
R3 is a 501(c)(3) steered by a Board of Directors that include strong leaders from various industries including banking, real estate, construction, education and youth programming. The Board of Directors meets regularly to oversee effectiveness across five key areas: youth, volunteers, operations, homes and financials.
Meet the Team
Dave Kuntz, Executive Director
Dave comes to R3 with a background of 10 years pastoring in St. Louis. He's taught, coached and been an employer of youth and has also managed three Subway restaurants. Better yet, he's an experienced rehabber and loves working with his hands. Dave also has a deep passion for community development, having given 10 years of his life investing in a neglected St. Louis community. His resume happens to line up exactly with what R3 is about and it is very clear the Lord has directed his steps to join the efforts of R3 in East St. Louis.
Scott Loeffler, Construction Project Manager
Scott has been with the team since February 2015 when he felt called to devote his construction management skills to a cause greater than himself. Scott started his construction management experience after he graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1996 working in large commercial construction until he started with a family-run custom home and remodeling contractor where he was a project manager and estimator for 15 years. In that 15 years, he was privileged to be a part of a wide variety of projects ranging from $100 to $5 million.
While working in the construction field the past 20 years, Scott gained experience in commercial construction, custom home building, and residential remodeling. This involved estimating, writing contracts, creating and managing job budgets, job reports, working with banks & title companies, accounting, coordinating suppliers, working with subcontractors, obtaining permits, worked with utility companies, working with insurance companies, and maintaining relationships with clients. Scott also got to coordinate onsite progress with superintendents, carpenters, subcontractors and delivery of materials on his projects.
Scott has been married to his wife Anne Loeffler for more than 17 years. He has 2 sons, Ryan (13) and Joshua (11). Both Boys are involved in baseball, basketball, wrestling, and soccer. The family has attended Christ United Methodist Church since 1999. Scott is on the Church Building Committee and the Trustees. Scott enjoys spending time with his family and coaching his kids.
Ileana O'Neill, Office & Development Administrator
Ileana’s been living with her family in East St. Louis since February of 2016. She was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua, and attended school there, getting a degree in Business Administration. Since her very first year in school, she started volunteering at a campus ministry serving university students. She volunteered with them for an extra year after graduating. She then worked as a dorm mother to 23 girls at a refuge for women and their children getting out of prostitution. For four years, she was the Youth Director for a non-profit serving kids and youth coming from urban poor neighborhoods in Managua. Here in the United States, she served inner-city youth in the St. Louis area for over a year, working at public and charter schools. Ileana’s fluent in English and Spanish, and also speaks Japanese. She loves traveling, speaking Spanglish with her husband and son, and is passionate about social justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion. She brings her passion, determination, creativity, and sense of humor to our team.
Board of Directors
Zach is the Youth Director at City of Joy Fellowship. He spends a majority of his time building relationships with the youth in the area. He is actively involved in the community as a substitute teacher, a youth soccer/basketball coach, and a volunteer at a youth center. He was previously on staff with a college ministry for 3 years, where he created and hosted events, had many public speaking engagements, and mentored several college students. His heart and passion is to deeply invest his time into the lives of the youth of East Saint Louis.
Deeply passionate about youth and community development, Johnathan is a teacher at the SIUE Charter High School in East St. Louis. He and his wife have been investing in East St. Louis residents for more than 5 years and were part of the ministry that led to the birth of R3 Development. In fact, Johnathan lives in the very first home that R3 Development rehabbed! Johnathan is also an active member in his church, City of Joy Fellowship, where he plays a vital role on the worship team. In summary, he is passionate about seeing lives change because of the powerful, transforming love of Jesus Christ.
President of First Collinsville Bank. Began as a teller at the age of 16 and worked his way through the ranks. Worked multiple jobs throughout teenage years to pay his way through college while balancing challenging family dynamics -- allowing him to empathize with individuals in difficult family situations. His bank is passionate about the area and its residents; therefore, R3 is a great way for him to invest his time through one-on-one relationships, financial literacy classes and strategic advocacy.
Brian began working with East St. Louis youth in July 2012 as Director of Operations of Rebirth: East St. Louis. While working at Rebirth, Brian loved creating life-changing experiences for youth that shed light into their identities, strengths and desires for the future. In February 2015, he helped create R3, and served as the Executive Director for 3 years, so that youth in East St. Louis would have more opportunities to gain meaningful work experience while rebuilding their own community. Brian has corporate experience in marketing and organizational structure and strategy. He also has experience in overseeing organizational staff and programs, developing youth through academics, character and spiritual development, and life skills training.
Brian is a real estate agent and a dynamic advocate for R3. He is serving R3 as a housing development advisor on the board. He assists in property acquisition and sales within East St. Louis as well as the surrounding communities. His experience is extremely helpful to the housing element of R3.
D.J. owns his own construction company, and is serving as a construction advisor on the board. His business-minded service brings such value to R3's operations. He helps oversee some of our jobsites as well as investment properties we flip to fund the organization.